In our ever expanding and increasingly developed city, one of the few respites we have is our connection to the natural world. Not only does this create an environmentally friendly city, it also enables communities to connect in a way that urban, cement settings do not encourage. Further, with the diminished supply of traditional houses and their associated backyards, apartment dwellers benefit from belonging to alternative green spaces. There is no better example of such a space than a well-cared for community garden, and I am very supportive of the City’s policy in favour of their continued care and growth where possible.
Within the City, there are 22 active community gardens. These are spaces which ask for collaboration between the community, and as result of such cooperation, gift the community with not only social interaction and potential cross-cultural interactions, but with the tangible result of harvested food. These are sustainable projects which give urban dwellers their own connection to food production and the food they eat, asking for a return to the land by virtue of care and collaboration, rather than monetary return asked from our disengaged supermarket culture.
I recognise that there are some challenges in setting up and maintaining these community gardens, and they certainly demand a level of responsibility and trust from community members. On top of this, decision making processes always have the potential to cause conflict, and require cooperation and inclusion. But any worthwhile project has its risks, and I believe that community gardens are the perfect city project to encourage good relationships under the banner of sustainability, strengthened with financial and social benefits.
At Council on Monday night, the Community Gardens Policy and Guidelines were supported and carried unanimously. I hope this means that we will be seeing many more community gardens popping up, creating more inclusive communities.